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Arborea is a gorgeous Ghibli-esque board game about woodland spirits

The best-looking forest game since Root?

Ghibli fans, Root lovers and hardcore Eurogamers unite: there’s a stunning new board game about woodland spirits in town, and its name is Arborea.

Arborea is the next release from Dice Hospital and Chocolate Factory publisher Alley Cat Games, which describes designer Dani Garcia’s upcoming board game as a mixture of worker-placement game and shared-resources Eurogame.

Players will spend their turns placing workers on a series of action tracks that run down the main board. All of the workers on a particular path will be able to move together when the track advances, gaining better rewards the next time the worker is activated depending on how far they travel.

This timing and planning aspect is combined with a shared resource track to which all the players can contribute in order to score points - or, alternatively, take from in order to benefit their own personal ecosystem on their separate player board, which also grants victory points. The most points at the end of each 90-minute to two-hour game wins.

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Arborea’s gorgeous visuals by artists Nico Gendron and Javier Inkgolem come from its spiritual naturalistic theme, which puts players in the roles of woodland spirits tasked with guiding the villagers of the forest in an effort to tend to the land surrounding them.

The eye-watering illustrations are paired with delightful little meeples that appear to represent the forest spirits - supernatural-looking owls, foxes, a winged snake and mushroom people all seem to be present.

Arborea will play with up to five people, including a solo mode. Alley Cat reckons that its gameplay complexity is “medium-heavy”, dubbing the game part of the studio’s ‘advanced’ series of releases alongside hefty highway-building game Autobahn.

Arborea will be available to demo at German board game fair Essen Spiel next month, ahead of a Kickstarter campaign planned to launch later this year or into early 2023.

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